Democracy Promotion in US Foreign Policy

Essay by JoaoVictorCardoso7University, Bachelor'sB+, October 2014

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What role did the promotion of democracy play in US foreign policy during the American century? In hindsight, do you believe the US succeeded in this mission?

Promotion of democracy played, and continues to do so, a major role in American Foreign policy. While different administrations have had different approaches to their foreign policy making, largely, they fundamentally remain focused towards the promotion of Democracy. During the American century, the United States focused their foreign policy towards the spreading of democracy. Their main goals were; to promote democracy, assist newly formed democracies, and to identify and denounce regimes that deny their citizens their right to choose their leaders. The US has always had a tradition of spreading democracy, a tradition that is almost as old as the country itself, and this tradition can be broken down into three framework levels; democracy at an ideational level, strategic level and at a policy level.

America was somewhat successful in this spread of democracy, as the number of democratic countries rose from 30 in 1974 to 117 in 2012. However while these numbers are highly impressive, this 'mission' to spread democracy also created tension between countries.

The United States was built on the notions of democracy and freedom, from the founding fathers onwards; different administrations have embraced their mission of promoting democracy and expanding the empire of liberty. Most of these feelings towards the spread of freedom, however, where operating at an abstract level, as the US power and their influence in the international stage, at the time, were very limited. As the country grew and the American century began, its leaders began to direct their foreign policy decisions towards spreading democracy. The spread of the democracy is not the main driver of US foreign policy, however it is perhaps the...